Research into mechanisms underlying lung injury and subsequent repair responses is currently of paramount importance. There is a paucity of models that bridge the gap between in vitro and in vivo research. Such intermediate models are critical for researchers to decipher the mechanisms that drive repair and to test potential new treatments for lung repair and regeneration. Here we report the establishment of a new tool, the Acid Injury and Repair (AIR) model, that will facilitate studies of lung tissue repair. In this model, injury is applied to a restricted area of a precision-cut lung slice using hydrochloric acid, a clinically relevant driver. The surrounding area remains uninjured, thus mimicking the heterogeneous pattern of injury frequently observed in lung diseases. We show that in response to injury, the percentage of progenitor cells (pro surfactant protein C, proSP-C and TM4SF1 positive) significantly increases in the injured region. Whereas in the uninjured area, the percentage of proSP-C/TM4SF1 cells remains unchanged but proliferating cells (Ki67 positive) increase. These effects are modified in the presence of inhibitors of proliferation (Cytochalasin D) and Wnt secretion (C59) demonstrating that the AIR model is an important new tool for research into lung disease pathogenesis and potential regenerative medicine strategies.
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